Learning About the Millennium Development Goals

This year the current 7th grade has become aware of the existence of the  Millennium Development Goals and their implications for our brothers and sisters around the globe. Students needed to research the goals by taking notes from assigned websites and videos and develop a post demonstrating not only their awareness of the goals, but an example of some progress that has been made toward one of the eight goals. (Featured student posts for this assignment: Kaitlyn, Alex, and Jacob. ) Although the deadline for accomplishing the goals was set for 2015 and there has been some progress, there is, in fact, so much that remains to be done. On September 25 of this year, a special meeting was convened by the UN General Assembly to follow up on the goals. There is an outcome document produced as a result of the meeting. From the document:

We gather with a sense of urgency and determination, with less than 850 days remaining for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. We renew our commitment to the Goals and resolve to intensify all efforts for their achievement by 2015.

We welcome what has been achieved so far. The Millennium Development Goals have provided a common vision and contributed to remarkable progress. Significant and substantial advances have been made in meeting several of the targets.

However, we are concerned at the unevenness and gaps in achievement and at the immense challenges that remain. The MDGs are critical for meeting the basic needs of people in developing countries; as we approach the 2015 deadline, unrelenting efforts are required to accelerate progress across all the Goals.

There are organizations making progress toward these goals and the 7th grade students had the assignment of finding one example of such progress and showcasing what has been done, indicating the goal being affected, and linking back to the information source. I feel that I should do what I am asking my students to do, so I  would like to showcase an organization that is working to help those in need. It has become dear to my heart because my own daughter has become personally involved in the cause. The organization is buildon.org, and  through their efforts schools are being built in communities whose children have not had the opportunity to have an education. One of the MDG’s is to achieve universal primary education, and this organization works to do just that. My daughter will be traveling to Nicaragua with a group and they will live with host families in one of these communities while they all pitch in to build the community school. In her post she says:

Education is a powerful thing. We all deserve the opportunity to hold this power in our hands and use it as a catalyst to change our futures. Today there are 1.2 billion people around the globe who are illiterate largely due to a lack of access to education. 72% of those illiterate are women. buildOn is an amazing organization that goes where there is a want and a need before they plan the school construction. They then work WITH the community to build the school and ensure an equal amount of boys and girls will attend. Providing access to education for even one remote village can change the lives of hundreds of children living in poverty year-after-year. In Nicaragua these schools double as hurricane shelters during Central America’s rainy season. buildOn has immensely successful After-School Youth Development Programs here in the U.S., and through their Global School Construction Program, have already built more than 500 schools.

We can all help in some way by supporting organizations that are making a concerted effort to better the lives of others and help eradicate poverty. Follow the UN Twitter feed on the goals @WeCanEndPoverty. “We are the first generation that can end poverty.”

John F. KennedyTo those whom much is given, much is expected.

Luke 12:48 ~ Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

Image Credits: Outdoor school, Bamozai, Afghanistan by Capt. John Severn, USAF under Public Domain

BuildOn Book Launch San Francisco  by buildon.org under CC BY-NC 2.0

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